Tag Archives: bar

A Small Lesson In Gratefulness


“I’m really a nice person,” he said. “I’m just nervous.” I wrinkled my forehead. “Nervous about what?” I asked. “I’m on my way back home to Florida and they’re on a hurricane watch.” I threw him a smile. “If things aren’t looking good, they won’t allow your flight to leave,” I said. I honestly didn’t know much, but I was just hoping to make him feel better. It made me feel a little warm inside when I saw genuine relief come over his face. “I guess you’re right.”

“And I haven’t felt like myself lately,” he went on. “I just recently lost my wife of 34 years to cancer.” He looked up at me and I saw a nothingness in his eyes. Pure helplessness, complete loss. “I – I’m so sorry.” That was all I could muster. What does one say in situations like these? “I understand”? Because we don’t. We don’t understand. Not at all.

His soup came and awkwardly I continued to make drinks as he took small spoonfuls. After he’d finished he asked for the bill, and it’d left my tongue before I could stop it; “Don’t worry about it,” I said.

“No.” It was a stern no, like my father used to say when I was small and misbehaving, or the no I tell the dog when she’s begging at dinner time. I put my elbows on the bar. “I don’t pity you,” I said. “No one wants that. I’m not doing that here. I just want to do something for you. It’s measly, but it’s something. Because I am so sorry about what you went through.” And that’s when my eyeballs almost dropped a few extra ingredients into the Long Islands I was mixing.

When I put his drink on the bar I thought he had the typical attitude problem, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. My eyes opened wide on a Thursday morning, and I hugged my blessings a little tighter that day because of it.



Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

“It smells like college kids in here.”

Last night I decided to give the creative piece of my brain a rest (which never actually turns into being a rest, since I can rarely ever turn it off altogether), and Joe and I headed to a local bar for some trivia and a few Winter Lagers (yum). The place sits on a corner, lit up by neon signs, beckoning all of the local college kids to come out for a drink instead of doing homework, which of course, most of them do.

As soon as Joe and I walk in we are surrounded by sororities and boys in Aeropostale t-shirts, and begin the search for two seats. As I’m scanning the crowded bar, Joe looks around and leans into me. “It smells like college kids in here.” Of course I laughed and called him a weirdo, but then I reminded myself that I once compared a perfume to the specific scent of a Barbie doll. That’s where my laughter abruptly ended.

But, as I racked my tired mind for an interesting topic today, his weirdo statement floated to the front of my memory. I graduated just this past May, and asked if I had an aroma that followed me around, that somehow faded as soon as I put on my cap and gown.

“Nah,” he said. “And you can only smell it when they’re in large groups, anyway.”

Oh, of course!

I thought the place smelled of Grand Marnier and quesadillas. As it should.

But I suppose college kids do have a certain scent to them. Not one that I detected last night, but still. So what is their scent? They spend a lot of time in libraries, so there must be a musty, dictionary, leather-bound essence. All of that on-campus drinking could cause a malty aroma. The late-night snacking might leave a lingering bouquet of cheese puffs. And surely the lack of showering from the young men throws in a hint of B.O.

So there you have it. We could bottle it and advertise it as a unisex scent, marketing to dropouts who want to smell like a Bachelor’s Degree without the loan payments, or to older men trying to attract the young ladies with that authentic college fragrance.

I think my college aroma was freshly copied paper (while it’s still warm) and hot sauce. I ate a lot of Salad Works between classes.

Something to ponder. What do you think?

Happy Wednesday! Heading to the grandfather’s house tonight for a delicious Italian meal (cooked by my Irish/Polish mother). Let’s see what the Italian side of the family has to say about it. Yum!




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